Get inspired by the Northshore's art spaces. Here's a day's worth of gallery-hopping.
Get thee fortified with strong coffee and a great breakfast at Mattina Bella in downtown Covington before hitting the historic district's art galleries and shops.
The historic St. John District is home to a number of galleries, starting with Columbia Street and the St. Tammany Art Association at the center of it all. Housed in a 19th Century building known as the “Art House,” the nonprofit hosts studio art classes, three galleries and community events throughout the year. The Miriam Barranger Gallery displays continuous rotating exhibitions by local and national artists, and the Severson and Williamson Galleries hold fine art and crafts by members working in a variety of media. Shoppers will also find books by and about local artists, handmade jewelry and accessories and other gift items. Before you go, be sure to check out the courtyard facing Columbia, a shady respite with places to sit with a picnic among lush plants, flowers, vine-wrapped trees, and a gently-flowing fountain.
Across the street is the studio and shop of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Gallery, featuring vibrant, gestural paintings on canvas and paper by the artist whose designs have been featured in fashions and accessories by Anthropologie.
Head south on Columbia to tree-lined Rutland you’ll find Rutland Street Gallery between Florida Street and Lee Lane. Featuring over a dozen fine artists, you’ll find paintings, pottery, photography, antiques, jewelry, notecards, gifts and more.
You don’t want to miss SALADINO Gallery, just a hop over to Boston Street, across from Southern Hotel, which contains an impressive collection of original works itself. The new structure houses a family of well established, mid-career and up-and-coming artists, plus a cool patio.
Make the short drive back north on Hwy. 190 for Hwy. 36 to Abita Springs for a visit to the Abita Mystery House, a roadside attraction-like emporium of found objects, interactive installations, Southern humor, and outsider art, sprung from the brain of John Preble. Then check out the cultural exhibit at the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum, nestled beside Abita's historic two-story gazebo. Take a break and cool off in the trailhead plaza's water feature next to the park, or stop into the Abita Brew Pub for a glass of Abita Beer’s seasonal brews, on draft.
Leaving Abita on Hwy. 59 south to Hwy. 190, head west toward Causeway Approach. Along the way, you’ll find a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes, including Café Lynn, with French and Creole cuisine from chef/owner Joey Najolia. Next on your journey is Girod Street in old Mandeville for a stroll through a wide variety of eateries and cute shops containing all manner of goodies, like the antiques and furnishing at Mae Antiques, the latest fashions and accessories at Cameo Boutique, vintage treasures at Tallulah's Vintage Market and more handmade artisan crafts, paintings and photography. Stop into The Wild Osprey, an eclectic, funky gallery with fine art and gifts, and A Pane in the Glass for beautiful stained glass works and classes.
Though they are a bit spread out, you’ll want to be sure to include Impastato Gallery & Art Therapy, The Cypress House and Pineapple Gallery in your travels for a bevy of contemporary art by local painters and fine craft artists.
Olde Towne is the heart of Slidell’s cultural life, with lots of galleries, shops, and eateries within walking distance from each other, and multiple antique stores that present the twice-yearly Olde Towne Antique Street Fair at the end of March and October.
Explore the talents of east St. Tammany artists as well as traveling exhibitions at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall on Second Street. The George Dunbar Gallery, the exhibition space at the center, hosts regular shows, competitions, and exhibits. While in Olde Towne, stop by Dellsperger Studio to view works by Keith Dellsperger and other artists. Across Front Street from Olde Towne is the historic Slidell Train Depot at 1827 Front St, home to an active Amtrak whistle stop, Times Grill & Bar, and Lori's Art Depot & Community Center for the Arts, a retail shop for local artist Lori Gomez as well as a multi-disciplinary arts hub offering art classes. It also has two pianos for the public to play and presents art markets and live events. And, near Olde Towne is Swamp Girl Glass Blowing, a studio and art glass gallery led by glass artist Solange Ledwith that is not to be missed. Ledwith offers glass-blowing classes, too.
Hungry for more vacation itineraries? To see them all, click here.